Wednesday, 1 August 2012

London Olympics: Uchimura wins all-round gymnastics gold

LONDON: Japan's Kohei Uchimura crowned four years of dominance in male gymnastics by romping to the Olympic individual all-around title at London's North Greenwich Arena on Wednesday.

Marcel Nguyen ended Germany's 76-year wait for a men's medal in the event by finishing second, with Danell Leyva of the United States claiming the bronze medal.

Since finishing second to China's Yang Wei in Beijing in 2008, Uchimura has won an unprecedented three consecutive individual world titles and he can now be considered one of the finest gymnasts in history.

He had disappointed in qualifying, falling twice and producing only the ninth-best score of the day, while failing to inspire Japan to gold in the team event. But he grew in strength as the individual final progressed.

After calmly negotiating the pommel horse and the rings, Uchimura produced a vault worth a score of 16.266 and impressed on both the parallel bars and the high bar, before clinching his maiden Olympic title on the floor.

The 23-year-old finished with a score of 92.690 points to Nguyen's 91.031, with reigning world parallel bars champion Leyva on 90.698.

Uchimura had come off the pommel horse in qualifying and produced a messy dismount on the apparatus in the team final that almost cost Japan silver, but his opening pommel routine earned him a solid score of 15.066.

Britain's Kristian Thomas also started impressively, scoring 15.566 for his floor routine to finish the first rotation in second place behind South Korea's Kim Soo-Myun.

Uchimura earned a score of 15.333 on the rings, while American national champion John Orozco's challenge evaporated after he miscued his pommel dismount and was rewarded with a mark of 12.566.

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